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Profile of Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire


Profile of Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire

Photo: Michael Springer/Getty Images

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, former Governor:

Jeanne Shaheen was elected to the U.S. Senate on November 4, 2008. she previously served three two-year terms as Governor of New Hampshire, in 1996, 1998 and 2000.

Politically powerful in New Hampshire, Shaheen helped Al Gore and John Kerry win the Granite state in 2000 and 2004. She was an avid Clinton supporter during the 2008 Democratic primaries, and was instrumental in Clinton's New Hampshire primary victory.

Jeanne Shaheen on the Issues:

Jeanne Shaheen holds strongly pro-choice, pro-education, pro-universal health care stances. She's a champion of equal rights for all, and a continual supporter of non-discrimination legislation.

Shaheen initially supported the Iraq War, an unpopular view in her state, but changed her position in 2004. She was active in the pro-corporate Democratic Leadership Council.

Shaheen advocates for U.S. energy policy reform and renewable energy sources, although was a lukewarm 2002 supporter of the Kyoto Agreement to stem global warming.

Senate Committees in 112th Congress, 2011-2012:

  • Foreign Relations Committee
  • Armed Forces Committee
  • Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee
  • Energy & Natural Resources Committee
  • Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe

As Governor of New Hampshire:

One of Gov. Shaheen's first acts was to repeal New Hampshire's century-old law making abortion a felony. She also established the state's Children’s Health Insurance Program which provided health care for 10,000 uninsured, low-income children, and pressed to pass laws granting civil protections to the gay and lesbian community.

An important controversy during her third term was a 2.5% sales tax hike she proposed to cover education mandates. The state legislature rejected the hike, which played a major part in her 2002 Senate race defeat.

Jeanne Shaheen After Leaving the Governor's Office:

After leaving the governorship in 2003, and having lost her 2002 senatorial election, Jeanne Shaheen served as a Senior Fellow at both the Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and the College of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts University.

From April 2005 to September 2007, Shaheen served as Director of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government’s Institute of Politics, resigning to focus on her 2008 election campaign.

Before Election as New Hampshire Governor:

From 1973 until 1990, Jeanne Shaheen worked as a high school teather and raised her three daughters, while actively supporting New Hampshire and national Democratic campaigns.

Shaheen's political skills first came to national attention in 1980 when she engineered Jimmy Carter's surprise victory over Ted Kennedy in the Democratic president primary.

As a member of the New Hampshire state Senate from 1991 to 1997, Shaheen focused on legislation in support of public education, health care initiatives, college affordability and job creation.

Personal Data:

  • Birth - January 28, 1947 in St. Charles, Missouri to working-class parents Ian and Belle Bowers
  • Education - B.A. in English, 1969, Shippensburg University in PA; M.A. in Political Science, 1973, University of Mississippi
  • Family - Married to New Hampshire native Bill Shaheen, a prominent attorney. Three adult daughters: Stefany, Stacey and Molly. Five grandchildren.
  • Faith - Protestant
The Sheehan family is close-knit and all live in New Hampshire. Youngest daughter, 22-year-old Molly, blogs about her mother's Senate campaign at On the Road with Govy.

Husband Bill Shaheen & Democratic Politics:

Bill Shaheen, a partner in law firm Shaheen & Gordon, was state Chair for the Carter, Gore and Kerry presidential campaigns, and co-chair for Hillary Clinton's presidential nomination race. In 2005, he was named by New Hampshire Business Review as one of "Top 10 Most powerful People in the State of New Hampshire."

But on December 17, 2007, Shaheen stepped down from the Clinton campaign after he "raised the issue of Sen. Barack Obama's past admissions of drug use in discussing the relative electability of the Democrats seeking the presidential nomination," per the Washington Post.

Memorable Quotes:

On Her Fundamental Core Value
"The fundamental core value that guides my decision making is that everyone deserves a fair shot at living a full life."

--- Per 21st Century Democrats, a progressive election site

On a woman's Right to Choose
"Jeanne Shaheen is a strong supporter of a woman’s right to choose. In the United States Senate she will support federal funding of reproductive health care, including crucial preventive care, such as access to family planning and teaching of comprehensive sex education.

She will support repeal of the "gag rule" that prohibits international family planning organizations from offering women in poor countries a full range of reproductive health care options. And, Jeanne Shaheen will vote to confirm justices to the Supreme Court who will uphold the right to privacy enshrined in our constitution."

--- Jeanne Shaheen for U.S. Senate website

On Middle-Class Families Falling Behind
"It’s time our economy worked for middle class families again. For the past seven years, wages have remained stagnant while the price of everything else – from a gallon of gas to a gallon of milk – has gone through the roof.

"As New Hampshire families fall further and further behind, Washington offers more of the same: more tax cuts for the wealthy few, more tax subsidies to oil and gas companies who are making record profits, and more debt and deficits."

--- Jeanne Shaheen for U.S. Senate website

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